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How’s everybody doing?! This has been such a difficult and surreal time, hasn’t it? Since you’re here reading this, I’m assuming you’re healthy and hanging in there, I’m so glad. Now more than ever, we need to be amping up our fitness and giving our immune systems the boost they need. For the past month, I’ve been publishing weekly follow-along workout videos. Each workout has focused on something different, and THIS week, it’s all about CARDIO AEROBICS TRAINING:
What is Cardio Training?
I know you’ve all heard you need to do cardio exercise for your heart health, but I’d guess many of you don’t quite know what that means, so let’s clear a few things up. We tend to think of cardio exercise as steady-state things like jogging or riding a bike. Well, yes, okay. But cardio training is more than that. It’s really any type of activity or exercise that improves the function of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. It also has to involve both raising your heart rate and your breathing rate. So it’s more than just the steady-state stuff. High intensity short bursts will also improve your cardio fitness.
TO BE CLEAR: Leisurely Walking Isn’t Cardio Training.
UNLESS you’re de-conditioned or with limited mobility, going out for a stroll is not cardio training. Sure, it’s cardiovascular in general, BUT! It’s not going to get your heart rate and your breathing up enough to invoke any sort of training response. Now, if you’re going to amp that walk up to a power-walk that includes hills, sweat, and difficulty talking, THEN we’re getting into some cardio training. People get this wrong regularly and the whole “10,000 steps” thing hasn’t helped. Watching your steps is great for getting general movement in your day, but it’s only the steps where you were breathing heavy that have any impact on building your cardio fitness and improving your heart’s ability to pump more efficiently. Your steps to the toilet, the kitchen, the mailbox… don’t cut it. Sorry.
Aerobic and Anaerobic Training are BOTH Cardio Training.
This is another part that gets confusing, so let me clarify. Think of yourself as having two engines: one is aerobic — which needs oxygen to run, and the other is anaerobic — which doesn’t need oxygen. Both engines are always chugging, but depending on how hard and for how long you’re going, one will always be working harder than the other. Our aerobic engine is great for fueling our lower-intensity activities, like power-walking, jogging, or anything we can handle doing for 20 minutes or more. Our anaerobic system is for fast and super-intense activities, like jumping up and down as high as you can for 30 seconds. Loads of research over the last few decades show that aerobic and anaerobic workouts both will improve cardiovascular function, which means both qualify as “cardio” exercise. The video above is an example of an “aerobics” style of cardio training. One more important fitness-nerd thought then I’ll let you go do the workout:
Why Do I Need Cardio Training?
Let’s apply that engine analogy to your muscles now. Think of your muscles like engines that run on fuel, only your muscles use fat and carbohydrates as their fuel source instead of gasoline. Oxygen is also required in the fueling process because once it gets in the muscle, it is used to burn fat and carbs to keep our muscles going. So, when we do cardio exercise, we’re training our hearts to pump more efficiently and we’re training our muscles to get really good at consuming oxygen. The more our muscles can efficiently burn fuel, the more fit we are.
…and Finally. Back to the Workout Video:
This 35-minute cardio aerobics workout is WAYYY better for your cardio training than going out walking, and yep, even better than power-walking. I created it with both beginners and active seniors in mind, but really anyone who’s stuck inside and wants to break a sweat can benefit. Remember, when choosing your exercises for the week, do keep in mind what I’ve shared here today. It only counts if you get your heart rate up, if you’re breathing heavy, and if you break a sweat. Anything less isn’t going to initiate any sort of training response to build your cardio fitness. Give this workout a try and when you’re done, compare its intensity to a 30 minute walk. You’ll feel the difference and know exactly what I mean.
So there you go! An awesome cardio workout AND some fitness knowledge… just what the trainer ordered!
Comments and questions below are always welcomed. Hang in there, friends! We will get through this. I’ll see ya next week! xo